A Recipe for Successful Collaboration: Shared Creative Work Experiences (SCrWE) Among Co-Researchers


  • Crystal D. Howell Randolph College
  • Libba Willcox Indiana University Indianapolis




research collaboration, imagination, aesthetic experiential play, collaborative autoethnography, creativity, extra-research strategy, embodied knowledge, somatic knowledge


In this article, we discuss our home cooking school as one example of a strategy we call "Shared Creative Work Experience" (SCrWE, pronounced "screwy"): Planned, playful extra-research activity during which collaborators engage in and reflect on creative work (e.g., cooking, sewing, painting, building, writing, performing, designing, gardening) that yields a product of some sort (e.g., a meal, a quilt, a painting, a shelf, a poem, a play, a game, a communal garden). Through SCrWE, we argue, collaborators playfully but deliberately create disequilibrium, shift perspectives, and unsettle power dynamics, ultimately preparing for productive, meaningful research partnerships. By creating a space for co-researchers to experience shared creative work, we aim to disrupt taken-for-granted assumptions and invite co-researchers to embrace ambiguity together. Grounded conceptually in aesthetic experiential play and the notion of the social imagination, SCrWE helps research teams identify potential sources of substantive, procedural, and affective conflict and then explore these conflicts in productive ways. Using techniques of collaborative autoethnography, we weave together recipes, photos, and scholarly writing to illuminate our experiences. We conclude by describing the steps for developing a SCrWE and include reflective questions to help research team members uncover their ontological, epistemological, and axiological commitments, ultimately leading to more meaningful research partnerships.


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Author Biographies

Crystal D. Howell, Randolph College

Dr. Crystal D. HOWELL is an assistant professor of education at Randolph College. She studies teachers' experiences in online and hybrid classrooms, teacher organizing, and qualitative methodologies.

Libba Willcox, Indiana University Indianapolis

Dr. Libba WILLCOX is an assistant professor at Indiana University Indianapolis. She has a joint appointment between the School of Education and Herron School of Art + Design. She engages in critical qualitative research, collaborative autoethnographic research, and arts-based research endeavors to better understand collaboration, teacher education, and higher education. Her research interests include teacher burnout, vulnerability, contemporary practices in art education, and art integration.


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How to Cite

Howell, C. D., & Willcox, L. (2024). A Recipe for Successful Collaboration: Shared Creative Work Experiences (SCrWE) Among Co-Researchers. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 25(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-25.2.4117



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